View Full Version : The whole airline industry is a bleedin' joke, innit'...?!

9th Jun 2008, 17:56
I specifically exclude the companies that build the flying machines and possibly even those who buy and lease them (if only because they hardly ever appear to go bankrupt or at least seek protection under Ch. 11 or whatever).

But for the rest of them: the national carriers, privatised carriers, low-cost operators etc., most of whom now 'threaten their public" via the evening news reports, that in view of increased fuel-costs, they're going to be cutting down on both flight frequencies and destinations etc. :confused:

Whatever happened to all those solid business models and the new 'democratised'-aviation industry that flew people to wherever they wanted, whenever they wanted, at prices they could afford...?! :confused:

Suddenly, the cost of fuel has become their death-knell. The increased cost of fuel affects everyone, more or less regardless of their business model. You're not allowed to add 'agreed industry-wide' fuel-surcharges onto initially-low advertised ticket prices anymore, is that it?

Which is why you all want to charge extra for checked-in baggage, drinks, meals and toilet access.? Pretty soon, you'll begin offering discounts to those who stay awake and lift their left or right legs as required in order to bank the airplane in order to conserve fuel.

Flying long distances in order to rejoin loved-ones after considerable absences, in order to attend 3 or 6 monthly business meetings with important customers or agents etc. - all that I can comprehend. But flying down to a second home for the weekend or just to get away for a few days...?! :}

It was a nice try, but it was never going to work in the long term was it? Just admit it. I don't suppose that it all really matters very much to the people behind all the great airlines - from what I've seen, they continue to make a packet renting out all the airplanes they buy to whoever actually flies or operates them.

So let's all just go back to the days when people mainly flew only very rarely. And receiving an airline's 'shoulder bag' gift after confirmation of one's flight was quite exciting (in addition to being free advertising). I'd also quite like to fly on a BOAC VC-10 again (and have the points registered in my personal logbook instead of airmiles) or even BCal if they still employed extremely attractive (to 10 year olds) hostesses...?! :sad:

Otherwise, let the train take the strain.

PS. Also, buying your 2nd homes here puts housing prices for locals (even expatriated ones) beyond the reach of anyone here unless they're fecking the tax-man or being fecked by the maire. :mad:

9th Jun 2008, 18:08
I'm feeling a bit guilty about taking the train to my present aviation assignment, but the Eurostar beats flying hands down for comfort and facilities. And apart from being cheaper, from city centre to city centre its much faster too...

Still, you know what they say -

"If you can't take a joke, you shouldn't have joined"

9th Jun 2008, 18:23
Yay I fly jets most days and when I have a few days off I fly 1300 miles to see my sexy Mediterranean girlfriend as pax. Airlines are great!!

Trains suck, full of scummers, not to say aircraft aren't; but then I couldn't drive 1300 miles in 3 hours. If I must travel up to 200 miles without aircraft, it must be by car. Suckin' gas and haulin' ass :ok:

9th Jun 2008, 18:31
Is that why they wear big watches then...for comfort perhaps?! I'm just guessing, but I reckon that most EuroStar drivers prefer Rolex Submariner models (if only because they wish they never have to need a watch that continues to work once, if ever, the tunnel is ever flooded...)?!

PS. My latest idea is for a new government-sponsored company called Skytrack following on in the best traditions established by Railtrack. What initially attracted me to the idea was that regardless of how poorly one performed, especially if that was to the best of one's ability, one can still look forward to pretty huge year-end bonuses whatever... :ok:

9th Jun 2008, 21:34
There is not single airline in the world that has/had a business plan that allowed for fuel to be above $1050 per metric tonne.

The rise in fuel prices (which make up between 40 and 70% of direct operating costs) has been too rapid for airlines who did not hedge to deal with.

The major US carriers are damned lucky to have Chapter 11 protection, and the European carriers are damned lucky to be protected to an extent by the Euro.

I believe that even with massive cost cutting and fuel surcharges United can only manage to find about $11 billion to fill the $23 billion gap that increased fuel prices have created.

Basically, if this keeps up, the capitalists will have killed more airlines than the terrorists could ever have dreamed about. Ironic really.

In Europe we will see 3 major carriers; Lufthansa, Air France/KLM & BA, along with 2 Lo-Cos; Ryanair and EasyJet. Competition will be limited and fares will rise. Small niche carriers will rise and be bought by the mega-carriers. Terms and conditions for pilots will be further put under pressure by managers that recognise that pilots can never organise themselves enough to create a strong trade union and todays pay for type ratings schemes will seem angelic. Train drivers will end up with better Ts&Cs.

In short we are screwed (unless you are an airline executive).

9th Jun 2008, 22:03
So shouldn't that mean all airlines would be pretty much equally-affected by incresed fuel costs? :confused: So just pass on the prices to the consumer and raise the ticket prices transparently instead of all the subterfuges. I mean, do you see petrol stations bothering with offers of lower prices per litre / gallon because you book ahead a few weeks? Or warn customers that they'll in future be charged per piece of hold-baggage (or at least whatever they've got in the boot when they turn up at the pump)? No, they just put up their prices.

The cost of milk has gone up, though I'm not sure if it's as much as JET A-1. But you don't see supermarkets saying they're going to have to limit sales of the full-cream variety in some counties compared to others (or at least, not yet). Nah, it's all just a premise to demand even more subsidies and aid much as were obtained post 9/11. To the benefit of the parent companies who always profit behind the advertised brands and the detriment of the employees of these companies who're always pushed to produce more for less.

I reckon we should nationalise all European airlines forthwith and give Singapore Airlines an exclusive 5 year contract (renewable once) to run the business. :ok:

9th Jun 2008, 22:36
So shouldn't that mean all airlines would be pretty much equally-affected by incresed fuel costs?

No. Some airlines hedge their fuel. That is they buy at a specific future value. It means that they are protected from future rises in price but could get stung if the price falls sharply. It ties up significant amounts of working capital.

Other airlines build a certain amount of margin into their pricing structure to allow for a certain amount of flexibility in direct & indirect operating costs. Unfortunately the rises in fuel have far too fast for alot of carriers to adjust their pricing structure to adapt to this recent sharp rise.

Other airlines, like Ryanair have deep enough pockets that they can weather the storm for a finite period,before they implement fuel surcharges. Even then the surcharge can take time to enter the cash flow of the company and by then it may be too late.

Direct marketing of products such as petrol, allows the consumer an expectation of rises. We grumble about it but still fork out. The consumer has come to expect low fares from airlines, so it makes it difficult for airlines to react to changes in their costings quite so easily.

Does that make any sense?

9th Jun 2008, 23:04
My view is that many airlines in UK/Europe now seem to think they are in the "transportation" business. This is a mistake because they are really in the "people" business. Good business is about relationships with people, ie the persons who are paying for the ticket.

As for rail travel then on certain journeys you could not do better. Today I have travelled from Brighton to Nottingham. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience with a virtually seamless change at the new St Pancras station, all for only 25 (if I had booked earlier it would have been 14). Both trains departed on time and arrived early, the rolling stock was modern and comfortable and the seats were reserved. I also did not have to pay extra to put my case on board or be subject to arcane security procedures.